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The Gonzales Cantata (2020)

for SSAT choir, soloists, organ | 00:40:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Public domain

Other Arrangements

For SSAT choir, 8 soloists (6 soprano, 1 alto, 1 tenor), organ.

Download the PDF of the score at the link above, or purchase hard copies of the score on Bandcamp.

The nationally acclaimed large-scale choral work based on the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings of former Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales. The Gonzales Cantata was performed at the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe Festival and received rave press and reviews from The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The National Review, The Huffington Post, Harper's Magazine, Fox News, The Chicago Tribune, The Daily Show's Indecision Forever, Talking Points Memo, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who featured the Cantata twice on The Rachel Maddow Show and called it "the coolest thing you will ever see on this show."

"[The Gonzales Cantata] is honestly, probably the coolest thing you've ever seen on this show. I know. I'm totally freaking out about it ... I spent all day obsessing about this, and watching clips of it online, and listening to the music, and I have to tell you, in my opinion, it is both great and kind of moving ... this is so cool, I could not contain myself." [Rachel Maddow]

"Every word in composer Melissa Dunphy's 40-minute choral production comes from Gonzales' Senate testimony. They never sounded more beautiful (Except maybe to the ears of relieved Team Bush members back in the White House) than when they are sung, especially by this bunch. " [Chicago Tribune]

"The career path of Alberto Gonzales provides perfect material for an opera in the tradition of George Frederick Handel. It has its earnest moments, flashes of heroism (involving Gonzales’s victims, of course, not the protagonist), and yet there is a steady undercurrent of opera buffa." [Harper's Magazine]

"Lovely conductor/composer Melissa Dunphy has seamlessly re-created former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ 2007 judiciary hearings as an opera, with epic results." [Philadelphia Citypaper]

"Her Gonzales Cantata - more PDQ Bach than Nixon in China - uses Handel's formality and symmetry as a starting point, humorously colliding with Gonzales' anything-but-symmetrical train of thought, quoted from the 2007 Senate Judiciary Committee hearings" [Philadelphia Inquirer]

"Top Five Political Satires in Opera: #2 - The Gonzales Cantata" [WQXR Operavore]

This arrangement was created for Invision's In Series, and was premiered in a virtual performance for the 2020 US election.

Visit the official The Gonzales Cantata website.


  • 22 Nov, 2021: Opera Philadelphia, Marvin Mills, organist [excerpt] at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
  • 16 Jul, 2021: Opera Philadelphia Chorus, Marvin Mills, organist [excerpt] at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Germantown, PA
  • 03 Nov, 2020 - 28 Feb, 2021: Invision—In Series at The Logal Operahouse Without Walls